[November 7, 2015] There’s a rule in the military that says, when in charge, take charge. The concept has been around since the dawn of humankind when people were forced to protect their own from wild animals, nature, or other humans. Taking charge is about decisive leadership and having trust and confidence.
Leaders with this characteristic are highly valued. Personally, I was blessed with mentors throughout my career that set the example. Those mentors showed me how to act and how to think in situations that demanded strong leadership. Sometimes, in a crisis, this was when others looked for someone to lead. Other times, it was when the situation required a firm hand to teach, mentor, and coach.
“When placed in command … take charge.” – Norman Schwarzkopf
Examples of those in charge who took charge and moved their organization through a successful mission are not restricted to the military. Lee Iacocca, when chairman of Chrysler Motor Corporation took the company from near bankruptcy to a profitable business in a short time, earning the title of turnaround king.1 Iacocca is still practicing leadership today. For some timeless ideas about leadership, review some of his thoughts and read his blog (see link).
One of the worst things that can happen to an organization (or for any group of people) is for a leader to fail to step-up and lead. We’ve all seen it happen before. Some adverse situation in a company – like a bad economy – and the person in charge is too timid to take action, too afraid to make decisions, too isolated to guide others. In the military it can get a lot of people killed and that is why there is such a deliberate process to select people who show the potential to be good leaders.
Characteristics of good leadership have been dealt with extensively here in theLeaderMaker.com so there is no need to detail them again. However, it behooves all of us to recognize the time and place where leadership must be applied and be willing to step into the role. Lee Iacocca could have retired after leaving Ford Motor Company but he chose to move to Chrysler; a move everyone was happy with after the company’s comeback.
Good leadership is not easy but the results speak for themselves. A good leader walks the walk and is selfless in their service. They never tire from communicating their vision and ruthlessly protect the organization’s culture and its people.
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